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Try this black soup recipe and discover why everyone gets hooked on this Nigerian soup. It’s healthy, delicious, and best enjoyed with African swallow!

Black Soup

Have you ever tried black soup before? Well, this is your sign to expand your culinary horizons and try this intriguingly delicious Nigerian efirin soup recipe!

Don’t let the dark color intimidate you because this beloved soup holds a special place in the hearts of Africans for a reason.

You don’t have to travel all the way to Nigeria to enjoy this delicious soup.

Here’s how you can make black soup right in your own kitchen using green leaves called efirin. Don’t forget to pair it with a swallow for an authentic experience. 😋

What Is Black Soup?

Black soup earned its name because of its color, even though for me, it looks more like a very dark shade of green and yellow than black.

This Nigerian soup is also sometimes called efirin soup or Eweluje soup, and depending on the tribe, the recipe can use different types of leaves and ingredients. For example, black soup can refer to Edo black soup, made from scent leaves, bitter leaves, and uziza leaves.

Once you take a spoonful, you’ll understand why it’s a favorite in Nigerian cuisine.

More than the delectable savory flavors from the leaves, spices, meats, and fish, this dish also offers various health benefits, which you will learn more about below. 

Overall, black soup is just one of those dishes that you’ll be delightfully surprised by.

Despite its dark hue, it’s a hidden gem of African flavors waiting to be explored. 😋

What Is Black Soup

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Don’t let the unconventional dark color stop you from potentially meeting your new favorite soup. Try this recipe for yourself and enjoy something that is:

  • Tasty: Black soup is a tantalizing combination of flavorful fish, succulent meats, and aromatic leaves. They all blend deliciously together, and the richness is especially addictive with fufu dishes!
  • Nutritious: The leaves responsible for the soup’s unique color are not just for flavor. They are also healthy and can even soothe digestive issues, which we will discuss in more detail later in this read.
  • Filling: Craving something delicious but satisfying for dinner? Surprise your loved ones (and yourself) with a hearty bowl of efirin soup that will easily delight your taste buds and nourish your body.

What Does Nigerian Black Soup Taste Like?

Nigerian black soup is a rich and savory experience, and trying to capture its flavor in one or two words won’t suffice.

It’s one of those dishes you must taste for yourself because every component has its own role in the overall taste of each spoonful.

You’ll also get a delightful kick from peppers, and the textures from the ingredients are just so satisfying and filling.

What do scent leaves taste like?

Efirin leaves are essentially African basil, so you can expect a clean, citrusy taste with notes similar to anise and licorice. It complements the proteins in the soup, but the overall richness is best enjoyed with swallow foods.

And while this specific recipe puts the spotlight on efirin leaves and banga, you can also add uziza leaves and bitter leaves to your black soup to give it a deeper flavor.

What Does Nigerian Black Soup Taste Like

Is Black Soup Healthy?

The star of this black soup is efirin leaves, but did you know that some people even enjoy them as a tea because of their medicinal properties?

Efirin or scent leaves not only pack a punch in terms of flavor.

They can also help lower blood sugar levels, alleviate stomach issues, and sometimes even be used to fight the common cold.

You can even take this recipe to the next level in terms of nutrients if you decide to incorporate bitter leaf and uziza leaf! Bitter leaf has anti-parasitic properties, while uziza leaf’s fiber content is fantastic for healthy digestion!

What Are The Benefits Of Black Soup?

Black soup is surprisingly easy to make because it does not require complex techniques or special tools.

This straightforward recipe will allow you to experience the rich flavors of Nigerian cuisine in your own kitchen. And the best part?

You can customize this soup with different meats and fish for a hearty bowl of goodness with enjoyable textures and complex flavors.

But wait, there’s more!

Efirin soup is also nutritious, thanks to the scent leaves themselves. In fact, scent leaves can relieve bloating, which in my opinion, is a win-win, especially after enjoying such a filling meal!

What Are The Benefits Of Black Soup

Ingredients For Black Soup

  • Efirin leaves – The star of this dish is scent leaf or Efirin leaf. You can also make your black soup with bitter leaf and uziza leaf.
  • Palm fruit sauce – Instead of palm oil, we’ll be using banga for flavor and color.
  • Beef – Use assorted meat to give your black soup enjoyable textures.
  • Beef stock – Feel free to make your own stock or opt for a store-bought one to save time.
  • Smoked fish – Unmistakable taste and aroma that adds complexity to this dish. You can also use roasted fish.
  • Crayfish – A must-have seasoning for making African dishes.
  • Cayenne pepper – To give this savory soup some heat. You can even make a pepper mixture to customize this recipe further.
  • Bouillon cubes – Meat stock and bouillon cubes? This black soup is definitely not lacking in the savory department.
  • Salt – Remember to adjust the seasonings as needed, but always start with small amounts. Sometimes, a pinch of salt is enough. 😉

Tools Needed To Prepare Black Soup

Ingredient Additions & Substitutions For Black Soup

Banga

Another tasty way to make this black soup recipe is to swap your banga with ground egusi seeds. It introduces an interesting flavor and texture to the hearty soup.

Palm oil

If using egusi seeds, remember to also add palm oil to the recipe. Pour it to the pot in the same time you add the other spices.

Ground leaves

Besides scent leaves, you can also make your black soup with bitter leaves and uziza leaves for a boost of flavor and nutrients.

Just remember to prepare and grind the bitter leaves separately!

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How To Prepare Nigerian Black Soup

Ingredients:

Tools you need:

Instructions:

STEP 1: Prepare the banga sauce by boiling your banga for 15 minutes. Pound them with a mortar and pestle, then add water. Filter out the sauce, wash, and filter again to get the thick banga sauce. If you can’t find fresh palm nuts, you can also use a store-bought palm nut concentrate. 

STEP 2: Remove the stems of the scent leaves. Rinse the leaves, then grind them in a blender. 

STEP 3: Cook the beef and stock in a pot. Season with a bouillon cube and salt, and cook for about 30 minutes or until the meat is soft.

step 3 black soup

STEP 4: Add the banga sauce, smoked fish, and crayfish to the pot. Continue cooking for 15 minutes or until the soup thickens. 

step 4a black soup
step 4b black soup

STEP 5: Pour the ground leaves into the pot and stir. Season the soup with cayenne pepper (you can also use a homemade pepper mixture,) salt, and the remaining bouillon cube. 

step 5 black soup

STEP 6: Let everything simmer for 5 more minutes, and you’re done. Serve with pounded yam or any Nigerian swallow.

What To Serve With Black Soup

Black soup is best enjoyed with swallows because they perfectly accompany the richness and savory flavors of the dish.

For example, serve your bowl with pounded yam, fufu, eba, semolina, or garri on the side! Urhobo starch would also be delicious with black soup. 🤤

What To Serve With Black Soup

Have you tried a swallow before? According to African Food Network, they are so-called because you don’t chew these foods but swallow them. It’s definitely an intriguing “advertisement” for those who haven’t eaten swallows!

And if you’re curious about what they taste like, I recommend reading about one of the most popular swallow foods: fufu.

After knowing what fufu taste like, I’m sure you’ll be tempted to try it ASAP. 

Tips About Making Black Soup

Do not be intimidated if this is your first time making this Nigerian dish. Here are some tips for this black soup recipe:

  • Efirin soup can get thick, but don’t worry! You can easily adjust its consistency by adding half a cup of water at a time.
  • If you don’t have banga, you can blend your efirin leaves with ground egusi seeds instead.
  • Consider making this black soup recipe not just with scent leaves, but other nutritious and tasty leaves like bitter leaf and uziza leaf as well. You can grind the sliced uziza leaves and scent leaves together, but remember to grind your bitter leaves on their own.

How To Store Black Soup

Got leftovers? Here’s how to keep your black soup for enjoyment later:

  • Fridge: Transfer your black soup to an airtight container and store it in the fridge. It’s best enjoyed within a week.
  • Freezer: For extended storage, you can freeze your black soup for up to one month!
  • Reheating: Ready to enjoy your leftover black soup? Just reheat it over your stovetop and adjust the consistency and taste with a bit of water and seasonings.
How To Store Black Soup

What Is Black Soup Made Of?

Black soup is usually made from scent leaves, bitter leaves, and uziza leaves. However, deciding what ingredients you want to use is up to you.

This recipe uses efirin leaves and banga, while some make their black soup with efirin leaves, palm oil, and egusi seeds. Don’t forget your assortment of meats, fish, and spices!

Is Black Soup Medicinal?

Black soup is medicinal because of its main ingredients. For example, scent leaves are used to treat the common cold and lower blood sugar, while uziza leaves are known to relieve cough and prevent constipation.

FAQ About Black Soup

Is black soup good for pregnant woman?

Yes! Black soup is actually good for pregnant women because the ingredients, specifically the leaves used in black soup, offer benefits like digestive health, alleviation of morning sickness, and can even be a source of iron and folic acid for the mom’s and baby’s health!

What is black soup good for?

Black soup is good for..well, everyone! Contrary to the misconception that black soup can cause miscarriage, this delicious dish is actually packed with nutrients for a healthy pregnancy. Black soup is also generally nutritious, making it an ideal dish for everyone.

What do Africans eat with soup?

Africans typically enjoy their soup dishes with swallow foods. One of the most popular is fufu, which actually pairs well with this black soup recipe.

What is fufu made of?

If you don’t know what to serve with this efirin soup, consider fufu. This African swallow is made from starchy root vegetables, but if you’re curious about its taste, I recommend reading our post on what fufu taste like.

What is the number one soup in Nigeria?

In the long list of rich and tasty Nigerian soups, banga soup and egusi soup definitely have spots at the top because of their flavors and health benefits. Check our egusi soup and banga soup recipes so you can try them yourself and learn why they can be Nigeria’s number one soup. 

Black Soup (Nigerian Efirin Soup)

Black Soup

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

Try this black soup recipe and discover why everyone gets hooked on this Nigerian soup. It’s healthy, delicious, and best enjoyed with African swallow!

Instructions

  1. Prepare the banga sauce by boiling your banga for 15 minutes. Pound them with a mortar and pestle, then add water. Filter out the sauce, wash, and filter again to get the thick banga sauce. If you can’t find fresh palm nuts, you can also use a store-bought palm nut concentrate. 
  2. Remove the stems of the scent leaves. Rinse the leaves, then grind them in a blender. 
  3. Cook the beef and stock in a pot. Season with a bouillon cube and salt, and cook for about 30 minutes or until the meat is soft.
  4. Add the banga sauce, smoked fish, and crayfish to the pot. Continue cooking for 15 minutes or until the soup thickens. 
  5. Pour the ground leaves into the pot and stir. Season the soup with cayenne pepper (you can also use a homemade pepper mixture,) salt, and the remaining bouillon cube. 
  6. Let everything simmer for 5 more minutes, and you’re done. Serve with pounded yam or any Nigerian swallow.

Notes

  • Is your black soup too thick? Just add half a cup of water at a time until you reach your preferred consistency, but don’t make the dish too watery. 
  • Another way to make this recipe is to blend your basil leaves with ground egusi seeds, then use that mixture as the base of the soup. 
  • Besides scent leaf, you can also use bitter leaves and uziza leaves for your black soup. Just grind the washed bitter leaves separately, and you can grind the scent and sliced uziza leaves together.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 119Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 33mgSodium: 99mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 10g

* Please note that all nutrition information are just estimates. Values will vary among brands, so we encourage you to calculate these on your own for the most accurate results.

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Conclusion

Say goodbye to boring chicken soup and try Nigerian cuisine for dinner. And what better recipe to make than the healthy and tasty black soup?

As you have seen in this recipe, it’s actually surprisingly easy to make.

After you prepare the ground leaves and banga, everything else is done in one pot.

And the result? A symphony of rich and hearty flavors and satisfying textures!

Nigerian Black Soup

It’s also a welcomed bonus that the leaves in black soup are nutritious. So, what are you waiting for?

Make efirin soup at home and discover why everyone gets hooked on this hearty dish.

Curious about other tasty and nutritious African soups? Choose from any of these, and I promise you won’t be disappointed:

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